Archive for February, 2013

Preview Copy of Pope Benedict’s Autobiography Leaked ?
February 27, 2013


via Andrew49 on

Governments Do – and Must – Create Jobs
February 26, 2013

The Government’s 2013 Plan for Jobs proposes what it calls “disruptive reform.” I would read “disruptive reforms” as a signalling of the government’s intention to punish the unemployed and force them into low-paid and unpaid jobs or leave them starve and unable to provide for themselves, heat their homes, drive them further into poverty, etc.

Once again the government sees the only solution to the unemployment crisis to be the throwing of more money at the business sector to create jobs they’re not interested in and to kick the unemployed and the poor. Bruton’s talk of a plan to retro fit houses with insulation will also fail in terms of job creation – instead of allowing local authorities to employ workers directly it will be farmed out to builders who will sub-contract it and it will then be further sub-contracted so that by the time the actual workers get paid it will be peanuts.

There is no jobs strategy. The government have repeatedly stated that “it is not the government’s job to create jobs, only to create the conditions for employers to create jobs” . Until this mentality is swept away then unemployment will remain stubbornly high. Every government in the state, from 1922 to the 1980s recognised that yes, the government did have an obligation to create jobs. That is part of the reason that companies like the ESB, Bord na Mona, Coillte and its predecessors and all the other state and semi-state companies were set up. Yes to create electricity, harvest peat and timber but also to create jobs. This was recognised as a key role of government until the arrival of Thatcherite Garret Fitzgerald in the 1980s. Even Lemass, who began the love-affair with the multinationals, recognised that there would never be enough jobs created by them and by native businesses and that the state, must also create jobs.

The government also continues to pile all of its eggs into one basket with the almost sole concentration on ICT and pharmaceuticals and on jobs for senior graduates.

Prometheus 26 February 2013

Coillte Panel Products – 1000s of Jobs Depend on Irish Timber

Mea Maxima Culpa – Silence in the House of God – Director, Alex Gibney
February 23, 2013

Mea Maxima Culpa is about famous Murphy case in a US deaf school – well over 200 boys – as the Vatican tried to whitewash the whole thing. Ratzinger refused to defrock that priest before Fr Murphy died (watchable also to those familiar with ASL (American Sign Language).

Trailer | TIFF Festival 2012 – YouTube

Summary of that film:

Gibney shows that part of the Church’s solution to the abuse allegations was to move the priest to another parish without warning the new parishioners about his abuse record. Some were sent to a retreat where they were ‘helped’ cure themselves of the want to sexually abuse through prayer and reflection. Needless to say, once released, they re-offended repeatedly. The church spent over $8 million trying to ‘cure’ about 2,000 priests. The documentary reports that the church hierarchy’s concern is for the priest and not the victim of abuse, citing shockingly that a ‘boy will get over it’.

Also explored is the knock-on affect of victims coming out with their stories worldwide, including in Ireland with the case of Ballyfermot priest Tony Walsh, known as the singing priest. There are simply too many appalling stories to mention, and while you think you have heard the most of it, this documentary blows the lid off even more.

That documentary was brilliantly made and superb and it blew me out of the water. A powerful one that demonstrated a strong connection between then Cardinal Raztinger to Murphy case.

A possible case for his recent resignation??

2010: Deaf victim of sex abuse is suing pope

It’s sickening to watch but i wasn’t surprised. I felt so revolted as that priest went on to abuse well over circa 100 to 200 deaf boys. These 4 deaf guys are really brave and courageous to speak even though it was uncomfortable for them via the medium of ASL (American sign language).

That documentary encompasses Ireland too as it showed some clips of Cardinal Brady and Cardinal O Connell as well. Their assets should be confiscated or more pertinently arrested for obstruction of a crime – abuse.

It made me all the more angry & enough is enough when i see same incident/patterns all over again – deaf school in Verona, Italy (which i didn’t know until now – that documentary).

Worth watching and it’s riveting and packs punch to punch a lot of holes in the Vatican’s claims.

At the end of that documentary program, it had paid special thanks to various people especially Mary Rafferty.

Disability Student 20 Feb 2013

HBO trailer: – strong visual impact and power towards end.

The film recently opened in Dublin

Interview with the Directo: Alex Gibney

Mogul Denis O’Brien vs Free Speech
February 22, 2013

The problem is not Denis O’Brien or the Daily Mail. The problem here is the right of Irish people to their “good name”, even as they live in notoriety.

The circumstances surrounding the ESAT deal have made Lowry, O’Brien and naturally the tribunal system itself all notorious as they years have gone by. The entire spectacle has become a classic example of sloth, expense, greed and farce since its inception. Most people in Ireland will know Denis O’Brien primarily as “yer man from the tribunal”.

While it is overwhelmingly likely that no laws were broken over the course of the ESAT deal (there are effectively no laws governing such processes), the idea that the process was pure as the driven snow does not hold water with a general public, weary from constant scandal and the lack of consequence for it. People in Ireland disapprove of the type of payments and behaviour on display during the ESAT deal and notoriety and loss of good name for those involved is to be expected — in my opinion it should be welcomed.

Unfortunately, the Irish courts seem to have consistently disagreed with such logic.

I am not clear on what basis the law defines someone’s “good name” or how it should be vindicated. Is it a general property of a person’s reputation, or does it depend on specific matters in which they have engaged? Is Denis O’Brien’s good name tarnished by his facilitating of payments to Micheal Lowry, or does this tarnishing only apply in this context? Has his good name been tarnished at all? Can a good name be tarnished?

If Denis O’Brien and others have a right to have all record of past misdemeanors removed from accounts of his present day activities, then Tribunals truly serve no purpose at all in this country. Their findings of fact are entirely academic if no-one can report them because it would damage someones “good name”, or if there is some kind of “expiry date” on the findings after which they may not be mentioned for the same reason.

There are two clear response to this decision:

1) Firstly, no more tribunals, for any reason.

2) Remove the right to a good name from the Irish constitution, or else heavily qualify it. This right should not trump the freedom of others to publicly disapprove of you.

OMF 22 Feb 2013

One Last Chance for Enda to Provide Justice for the Women Who Were Shut Away in the Laundries
February 17, 2013

I’ve just read the Justice for Magdalene’s redacted submission to the McAleese committee.  It has been released to balance and correct some impressions conveyed by the McAleese report. None of the hundreds of pages of accounts of individual women was quoted by McAleese. I haven’t read McAleese’s report yet, and plan to give it a try today – although at 1,000 pages it will have to be a fast read.

The Press and some politicians and commentators are using the McAleese Report to say that the laundries were “not like the films.” McAleese interviewed 50 women, the rest of the Committee did not meet any. They had no remit to investigate the treatment of the women in the laundries or to make findings on this. The first thing to remember about the McAleese Report is that the brief was to investigate State links with the laundries, not to explore what went on inside them.   All of the Committee members bar McAleese were civil servant representatives of implicated State Departments. McAleese who has close associations with the Church, resigned his position as Senator and left Ireland without making himself available to the press to answer questions on his report.  

The Justice for Magdalene’s earlier reports show the State’s role, and were in part what forced the Government to act. The State was responsible by reason of its neglect of its duties to inspect and to protect citizens from illegal incarceration and brutality. It also paid capitation money in to the laundry system for some women, provided contracts to it, and directly sent women into the laundries, and returned them if they escaped, without investigating if they were held legally. It has taken 10 years of research and campaigning, and a number of women in the meantime have died waiting, with no redress, some in very poor circumstances. One of the women who spoke out last year has lung cancer, and did not expect to see the report come out. Now she is waiting still for an apology and some redress.

Some of the things that stick in my mind from the many accounts in the JFM report and that very much contradict the Enda Kenny/McAleese version of the laundries –

The laundries were locked jails, with barred windows, with no daylight in some cases, little or no access to out of doors. They were cold and often wet. The work was heavy and dangerous. Many women got burns and other injuries.

The girls and women had inadequate diets – porridge for breakfast and supper, a small lunch with little protein, an egg once a year at Easter, occasional pieces of fruit on “special days.” An account mentions that women rooted in bins for nuns leftovers. They were very thin. People talk about fainting from hunger.

Women were not told when or how they would get out, and many never did get out.

Their names were taken off them and a number or penance name given to them.

They were told they were “there for their sins” although some had no idea why they were there at all. Young children as young as 11 were put in the laundries and a lot of them were young women. They were verbally insulted and abused.

Some women were put there because of ill health – lameness, epilepsy, mental disability.

They were not allowed to speak during the long work hours. They worked six days a week in the laundries: after hours they worked making small goods for sale by the nuns, and cleaning.Women were beaten with belts and hit with heavy bunches of keys for “faulty work” and for “cheek” and in some cases severely beaten for running away or for being found in bed with another woman. They were also punished by having their hair cut “to the bone” and by having to kneel and kiss the floor.   Solitary confinement was a punishment. Women were physically forced to work even when ill.    Enda Kenny however told the Dáil that physical abuse was not an issue.

Some girls and women who were resistant of this abuse and bullying or in other ways “difficult” were sent to mental institutions where they were incarcerated and in some cases died, unreleased.

There was an atmosphere of fear: women cried at night in bed. Women had nervous breakdowns and suffered from depression. Some became severely institutionalised. At least one is still living in an institution / care – would have liked her own room, but never had one. Reported problems of not getting dentures and associated weight loss. This seems to be current ?

They were not ever paid.

The young ones got no education. They had no books, newspapers, or radio and didn’t know what was happening in the outside world.

A horror that sticks in my mind – a account of a woman (likely not the only one) who was born in a laundry institution, grew up in it and who died in it.

Another account mentions a woman who sat at one end of the Church at High Park, while her daughter, elsewhere in the institution, sat at the other, without them ever knowing they were living in the same place.

A woman who got out for a day when she was 45 to meet her grown up child had never before tasted coffee, or handled money. She didn’t know her own age, but was told by her children. She died aged 51. (source: from the JFM FB page)

When the women died, there was no death certificate in many cases, and they were put in a mass grave with no name marker and no priest present, no funeral rites.

The State was very much aware of the laundries, was aware of issue of wages and its obligation to inspect and to safeguard basic rights of citizens. It failed catastrophically in relation to the laundries and in fact colluded in stripping women of their rights.

Women were in some cases sent for petty theft (an apple, stolen in an industrial school, is one example), for staying out late, or being rebellious generally.  Some had had children outside marriage.  Others had disabilities. Some had grown up in institutions. If they ran away, Gardai returned them.

The Secretary of Carlow County Council signed an order to incarcerate a married woman in a laundry and send her baby to a babies home, as the child was believed not to be her husband’s. This was in 1956 (As a side note, I know of a case in the 1990s,  in which Gardai in this area turned away a woman who went for help as she was repeatedly beaten at home: they informed the husband they she had complained).

The issue is not to me about who sent women to the laundries. Enda Kenny, McAleese and the press are busy trying to foist the blame for the laundries onto families. This is a particularly toxic and self serving argument. The State has obligations to citizens and residents irrespective of failures of families.

Abuse is an illustration of that.

Some girls /children who had been abused were locked into the laundries. One woman told of how as a young teenager she went to the Gardai and repeatedly asked them to act against her father who was raping her (her mother had died). They refused on a number occasions, but when they did act it was to incarcerate her in a laundry.

Women ended up in the laundries via state schools and institutions, via the courts, via parish priests and families. Families were under enormous social pressure from current “morals” and social stigma enforced by Church and State, and from poverty.  The Laundries were punitive institutions, part of a gulag of social control, that exerted fear and pressure on all girls and women to modify their behaviour and to comply with a rigid, brutal and hierarchical social norm.

The thinking that the State can avoid its responsibilities and push them off onto onto families, no matter how dysfunctional or disadvantaged, still goes on.

This matter will come up before the Dáil again on Tuesday.  Again, Enda Kenny has the opportunity to apologise, and make redress for the appalling acts of omission and commission by our State in relation to the Laundries.  

There will be a lobby/picket of the Dáil from Tuesday 1 p.m. 19.1.2013  until the debate is over.
Anyone who would like to go along would be welcome.   The women and support campaigners who have brought things to this stage and who have refused to be silenced deserve every support.

POST SCRIPT Justice for Magdalenes and supporters will be gathering at the Dail Tuesday 19th February for a candlelit vigil from 5 p.m. Please come, and bring a candle. 🙂 The debate starts on the Magdalene laundries starts at 6 p.m.

C. Flower  17.2.2013

How Do You Achieve a United Ireland ?
February 14, 2013

The idea of reunification is a fallacy. There never was a united Ireland. There never was a High King of Ireland. Even the various kings of Ireland wouldn’t support the idea of having Brian Boru as High King, as paying tribute to him and recognising him as such would have taken from their own legitimacy, and would have interfered with their own political objectives.Geographically speaking: millions of years ago, Ireland was two separate islands. Down around the current latitude of South Africa, they slowly drifted upwards with the rest of what’s referred to as the British Isles, to avail of the shittiest climate possible. Ireland’s two islands fused together, north and south in the middle of Ireland. Are we finished in our geographical sojourn? Nope.

Culture. I love this one… Hurling is a game of warriors. My father was a warrior as was his. It’s a game that should be played all over the planet. Of course, it’s been pussified somewhat, what with helmets and rules. Before that, it was pussified by developing teams. Aye, I yearn for the days when villages went to war against each other in this warrior’s game. Culturally speaking, who gets to say what hurling is and what would pass as a definitive example of it? Fuctifino. Football on the other hand, is shíte and I don’t particularly care what cultural mafioso gets to impose a definitive description.

But the language… “Beidh.” Tis pronounced “buy” you uncivilised monkeys from the east. Enough with your “beg.” That’s a freudian slip, not an example of either language or culture.

Things get very strange for me when I discuss the idea of nationalism with my fellow anarchists. It becomes complicated beyond reason when I try to explain to anarchists from around the planet the differences between the global understanding of nationalism and the Irish version of it. In Greece, for example, the Golden Dawn is the primary nationalist party and best fits the global understanding of nationalism.

I most certainly do not intend to have the same conversation here!

I had an interesting childhood (as did we all I’m sure). My father’s family was from the west, from around Limerick and Tipperary. My mother was a lass from Belfast. Her mother was from an extremely nationalist family (the Irish version of nationalism). Her father wore a sash. That’s love for you… Anyhow, I spent a considerable amount of time up North. I was there when nationalist families were burnt out of their homes and the British army was brought in to protect them (which they obviously failed to do).  I was there for the formation of the Provisionals.  Many members of my mother’s family ended up in Sweden and elsewhere because of their leanings.  Some of them ended up in Sweden and elsewhere because they were effing sick of either side trying to force them to choose sides. That said, I support wholeheartedly the need for the Provisionals and what they did. But I realise and respect that there are equally valid views on this. To further this thought of mine, I supported the need for the Provisionals because of the need to fight back.  I never gave a toss for politics.  Being ruled by wánkers from Dublin or wánkers from London? It’s the wánkers I hate. I don’t care where they’re at.

There is no political solution to the North. When you unite folks under a political banner you set polarities. Two like poles repel and opposite poles accelerate factions together into a cataclysmic annihilation.

The only solution is community. Or rather the only satisfactory solution is community. Enough of the fúckwiths shouting “think this,” or “think that.” Methinks that most of them have seldom pondered anything beyond their bellybuttons anyway.

Seán Ryan  February 2013

Discussion on : “How Do You Achieve A United Ireland” 

Roses are red….
February 14, 2013





Dr. FIVE  14 February 2013

Is Ireland Bullying the ECB ?
February 12, 2013

If there is anything singular in the way the ECB is treating Ireland, why might that be?

Looking at it from an external perspective, Ireland is a tax haven, a money launderer’s paradise through which vast sums of money flow internationally, causing other EU jurisdictions with more restrictive laws a disproportionate number of problems. We know next to nothing about most of this activity and understand even less. What we do know is that it is routinely corrupt and out of control. Our government is even now a ferocious defender of this set-up and of international financier corporatism – among its most extreme adherents in the world. Throughout the crisis, the Irish Government (FF/Lab/FG) has indeed shown implacable steel about maintaining our tax haven status and our anti-EU corporate tax regime – which does nothing for the majority of people here and which is also a big **** off to the ordinary people of the rest of Europe.  Conor McCabe has shown, for example, that FDI accounts for just 7.25% of Irish jobs, despite all the bigged-up claims made for its importance to our economy.

Again and again, our government favours the same small elite, whatever policy is at issue right across the spectrum – health, education etc. It’s as if we are not even deemed human beings unless we are disgustingly rich. There are no concessions to this set up at home or abroad. Who can blame the EU or the ECB, in one sense, from saying ‘OK, if that’s how you want to play it, we’re happy to oblige’. The intransigence on debt write down begins with the Irish government: they refuse even to ask for it because they do not want to negotiate terms at all. The ECB only deals with us on the macro level.

The Irish government, defined by its visceral contempt for ordinary Irish people, only has to rely on sucker-punching us via a by-and-large remarkably stupid and unquestioning media. The worst we are asked to think of our government is that they are merely pathetic in the face of ECB bullying, when in fact they are getting everything they want out of the situation: the destruction of our welfare state, blamed on the Troika even when the IMF is clearly saying that austerity has failed and is being taken too far.   Every choice that is made at micro level on spending (choices which our government completely controls, despite claiming otherwise) protects the rich.

At the same time the Government is using the crisis to copper-fasten the financial elites to the control levers of the Irish economy and to our parliamentary democracy, such as it is. FG are indeed laying the ground work for a future, blue-shirt fascist state. Godwin’s law? Look at the power Noonan has abrogated to Ministers for Finance for the permanent appropriation of private property in this wonderful new deal. This is neo-fascism. Already, Michael D’s signature not even dry on the page, government cheerleaders in the media are wagging fingers at us to say that there will be no let up in austerity just because the massively expanded sovereign debt ‘deal’ is a magnificent success. Austerity is one of the most extreme ideologies ever to be foisted on people. It has nothing to do with fiscal rectitude or ‘prudence’. It is wrecking the economy, but still it is persisted with. Why? Because none of this was ever about doing what is best or what is right – these guys just want things done differently in their own interests and they want us to pay the full cost of that on their behalf.

Is this not, at bottom, the overall situation?.

Mediabite  11 February 2013

The Trap
February 10, 2013

Adam Curtis – The Trap

“Yes, Minister” is great, particularly in the Irish context – so simple yet almost always absent from mainstream debate – in that it shows that all decisions are made on the outcome of competing interests.   Like the Sale of Alcohol Bill will be shaped by the clout of the Pubs vs the Supermarkets rather then the ‘right’ or most effective policy.   Simon McGarr & TJ McIntyre talked of similar during the SOPA debate.   People who use the internet caught between the power of record labels and ISPs.   Or, of course, the McAleese Report where the State & Church sought not to make trouble for each other.

Further collusion against those women and the wider rest of us imo.

Dr. FIVE Feb 10th 2013

Éamon de Buitléir – A Life Well Lived
February 1, 2013

Time is a speeding arrow, it only flies one way. There is no reaching back in time, but a very few, gifted, special people can reach forward beyond their allotted life span.
Éamon De Buitléar was such a special person and his influence will resonate through generations yet to come. When the young State of Ireland was in its infantile destructive stage, tearing down its Georgian heritage and seeing only primitive shame and embarrassment in our abundant green and natural landscape, Éamon had the vision to see the potential and uniqueness of our island.   Through his calm enthusiasm in such self developed programs as Amuigh Faoin Spéir he showed us the wonders of nature, not in far away places, but on our own doorstep. In so doing he was a pioneer in appreciating and caring for our environment.
As is often the way with very gifted and dedicated people he accomplished outstandingly in more than one field. Éamon was an accomplished musician and contributed much to the world of Irish music being the founder along with his friend Seán Ó Riada of Ceoltoiri Chualann (1960-1969).
He served as a member of Seanad Éireann between 1987 and 1989. As well as running his own innovative film company he was for a time on the Irish Fisheries Board.  Brought up in an Irish speaking home his gentle and natural use of the first language and the ease with which he would switch between Irish and English made the language accessible to those with only school Irish.
Éamon De Buitléar’s legacy is thousands of people through generations still to come inspired by him to love Irish nature and/or Irish language and/or Irish music.Truly a life well lived.He is survived by his wife Laillí, five children, and numerous grand and great grand children.

Ar dheis déa go raibh a n-anam.

Eamo  1 February 2013

%d bloggers like this: